Review | Paradox Live Stage Battle “DESIRE”

PARADOX LIVE

BAE and cozmez burn the house down with their powerful new songs in Paradox Live Stage Battle “DESIRE“.

Paradox Live is a mixed media project that has hip-hop music as its selling point. The project is developed by Avex and G Crest. The project released its first album, Paradox Live Opening Show in February 2020.

Paradox Live Stage Battle “DESIRE“

Title: Paradox Live Stage Battle "DESIRE" 
Label: Avex 
Release date: 31/03/2020 
Genre: Hip-Hop

Tracklist:

01. AmBitious!!! (BAE)
02. Get it (cozmez)
03. Voice drama DESIRE - Part 1
04. Voice drama DESIRE - Part 2

Track by track analysis:

1 – AmBitious!!!

Funky brass with trap accents set the music bed for BAE‘s newest song. AmBitious!!! brings out its charms with a tropical inspired percussion which highly benefits from the brass to create an infectious tune with a mad bass line.

However what happened to this track as it went all out late 00s brass-electronica meets late 10s tropical house?

The instrumental is definitely not hip-hop after the intro.

In comparison with BaNG!!!, it is a downgrade – both in its sonority and vibe. As a standalone track it is a cool, trendy tropical-pop track with some hip-hop elements here and there that caters to the masses.

When it comes to the team’s rap game, BAE do not disappoint – just look at their lineup, it is hard for them to deliver a bad performance on this end.

The rap in the verses is powerful yet their rhymes are fancy. This duality is very much something that is starting to feel very “BAE”.

Really enjoyed their transitions between singing and rapping once again, this time with the whole team participating in the singing parts. Good team effort however a bit far from being a hip-hop track. 

2 – Get it

cozmez go hard on this track. Get it is all about the hustle, the desire to reach the top, themes that are an important part of what this team is all about.

The lengths to which they will go to achieve their dreams show in the fierce lyrics and instrumental. You can tell they are not joking around or taking it too lightly by how dark and gritty the song is.

Trap is starting to solidify as the team’s trademark sound. It is bare, stiffening and intimidating at times, setting a pitch black tone to their music.

Orchestral accents and distant synths create an hypnotizing background to the fire being spat by the cozmez. The chorus is simple yet to the point. Initially, it seemed like the focus wasn’t on being catchy, it is on passing the message, the chorus serving only as a bridge to their words in the verses.

It still has a bit of truth on it however, as you revisit this song, you’ll notice that the simple chorus is actually the hook that makes you, the listener, join in and spit some rhymes along with the duo. It gets into you and you’ll be humming to it for a while.

Rap game for cozmez is pretty chill yet behind their chill approach to rapping is a passion and a fierceness that impresses with each performance of theirs.

Although with pretty similar flows, Kobayashi and Toyonaga have their quirks that make the two stand out in their own ways.

Toyonaga is more on chaining his rap in a sort of legato fashion whereas Kobayashi bounces through his lines. This is a unique touch to their performances.

cozmez brought fire with them and they burned it all down with a masterful performance. 

Final considerations

DESIRE is a solid release. I didn’t know what to expect from this first battle but I can say that I am pleasantly surprised – even if there are some things that I believe failed a bit the mark.

BAE‘s AmBitious!!! came as a surprise. While pop plays a big part in their sound, tropical elements were the last thing I’d expect to be listening from them.

Personally, I feel like the song ended up straying too far away from hip-hop as it went all out into tropical-pop territory with some hip-hop accents on it.

I enjoyed the song – and was jamming to it for almost 1 hour straight on repeat until I reminded myself that there was still another track to review – but I noticed that I was jamming to it not because it was a hip-hop track, but because this is a textbook pop “earworm” track. It is fancy in the way it catches the listener’s attention but it is not hip-hop.

While not necessarily a bad thing – the song is pretty good as a standalone release -, it makes the whole battle with cozmez completely pointless. You’re putting a pop act against a trap/electro-hop outfit.

What is the most popular music genre out of the two in Japan? Pop.

You got your answer as to why BAE won the battle against cozmez (at least if you are judging music alone).

It would be more level headed if BAE had went against Akkan Yatsura since their sound is on the same vibe and wavelength.

Consistency was key for cozmez. The theme explored for this release was DESIRE and there couldn’t have been a better team to talk about desire than them. This is a theme that fits perfectly with their underdog, “we will rise to the top” theme, as well as with their sonority, and it carries over from their debut release, Where they at?.

Trap, alongside their fierce lyrics, has that grit that makes you want root for them. The electronica in their sound isn’t overdone which works great and, at the same time, puts emphasis on the fact that the twins are still young which makes their fight out of their hell hole, all the more impressive.

This review arrives late – we all already know that BAE won the battle – but I felt, while listening to this release and comparing both songs on it, plus how they executed the main theme, that cozmez was the rightful winner of this battle.

This is an opinion by someone that ends up enjoying music by crews/teams/outfits that end up being underdogs – popularity wise.

All in all, DESIRE features a hard-fought battle between two rather unique teams in the Paradox Live franchise. Both expressed what desire means to them, what are their ambitions, what are their dreams.

Both fought their hardest so, regardless if the winner is or isn’t your favorite team, I hope you enjoy this release as much as I did because it is a banger.

Paradox Live Stage Battle “DESIRE” is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.


Paradox Live Stage Battle “DESIRE” is available for streaming on Spotify.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Tbh, when I first listened to both of the songs, BAE’s Ambitious!! got the hook and for me, depicted the desire theme better than cozmez. The latter has the subtle type of desire, and unfortunately, didn’t hook me up although the song is much better than their first release. BAE portrayed desire in a lot greedier, louder way.

    And yes, I am fully aware that having BAE vs cozmez has its disadvantage with BAE having very striking songs in comparison with cozmez with its underground and quiet style. As a hiphop listener, BAE and cozmez have their own grandeur, but BAE deserves this win.

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